Get ready for ‘Petals, Pathways’

Chuck and Darlene Whitney have several varied lupines.  - Submitted photo
Chuck and Darlene Whitney have several varied lupines.
— image credit: Submitted photo

by Muriel Nesbitt

Clallam County Master Gardener


Saturday, June 28, is the day of the 21st annual Petals and Pathways Garden Tour. Seven gardens in the Port Angeles area will be open to ticket holders from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Tickets are available at the Extension Office in the Clallam County Courthouse at all Master Gardener events, online at or at several Sequim businesses: Over the Fence, Red Rooster Grocery, Sunny Farms, Nash’s, Peninsula Nursery and Vision Nursery.

Tickets are $15 per person ahead of time and $20 on the day of the tour. A map of the gardens come with ticket purchases. Or, get tickets at the first tour stop at 525 E. Park Ave., Port Angeles, across the street from the Olympic National Park headquarters.

The gardens on this year’s tour are spread over a fairly large area, ranging from sites near Olympic National Park, south of central Port Angeles, to locations off O’Brien Road and Shore Road to the east. Specific locations of the gardens will be revealed only with the purchase of a ticket

Not only will tour-goers be treated to views and creative landscaping but they also will have the opportunity to observe how the owners of these gardens have overcome problems such as steep terrain, deer encroachment and poor, rocky soil.

The sites

• Bill and Nancy Helwick’s property was on the tour in 2005 and has matured in the past nine years. They have incorporated flowing water and its soothing sounds into their garden and have made paths that wind among conifers, boulders and rockeries with plantings of conifers, rhododendrons, azaleas, clematis and dahlias. As you exit the garden, notice the copper hummingbird gates.

• Chuck and Darlene Whitney have developed a large compost and mulch complex to create materials they use to improve their soil and drainage. On the tour day the Clallam County Master composters will be on hand at this garden to answer any questions you might have and share their knowledge about the art and science of composting. The Whitneys have found ways to make excellent use of some areas of steep slope. Come and see their flourishing vineyard and their formal garden of hybrid roses.

• Mike and Beth McBride have made use of locally abundant black basalt rock to build raised beds that warm quickly when exposed to sun and provide a head start on vegetable growing. Their garden holds a mix of native plants, seasonally shrubs and perennials arranged in such a way that the whole planting plan is tied together into a visually coherent design.

• Bob and Karen Larsen have created a garden from what was harvested forestland and a logging road when they acquired the property. They brought in conservation district seedlings of evergreens, vine maples, dogwoods, Nootka roses, ninebark, serviceberry, salmonberry and cotoneaster among other plants, and these have grown and matured.

• When Glen and Bev Dawson acquired this property just six years ago, the right word to describe it would have been “flat.” They have changed that. By bringing in loads of cottage stone and soil, they have created a landscape with texture. The property now is enhanced by a variety of shrubs, perennials and specimen plants in landscaped beds. There is a fruitful orchard and more than 30 gorgeous dahlias. Tucked in here are little surprises of yard art and a variety of birdhouses.

• Russell and Teena Woodward have built a custom greenhouse especially to make a home for a staghorn fern that belonged to Teena’s grandparents and it has thrived. This is a bee- and bird-friendly place and bird houses in a variety of shapes and sizes abound. There is a giant sequoia and a small forest of mature cedars and hemlocks with unusual shade-loving plants growing beneath.

• Joe and Deb Yuch’s place was an empty lot eight years ago. Now it is a garden gem irrigated by secondary water. The owners have designed the garden to provide paths, hidden alcoves and inviting benches provide quiet places to sit and enjoy the beauty of the garden. This garden is very bird-friendly, with bird baths here and there. Colorful inlaid stepping stones created by Deb enhance the garden that features a diverse collection of art pieces.


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